All of us have dealt with a narcissist, and many stepmoms get to deal with them on a daily or weekly basis! Quite a few of us constantly struggle with the reality that the kids are being raised by someone so self-absorbed that we wonder how the kids are being raised at all...and why the courts or CPS haven't noticed.
Although I've known (and dated) quite a few narcissists, it can be a little comforting (and simultaneously disturbing) to read about narcissism. It helps you to...see a little more clearly why your life is made so freaking insane by someone who probably, literally, is insane. You also start to realize that there are more narcissists around you than you thought...Like your boss or a coworker. Or, you may feel a lot better about that horrible break-up you had with an ex who, once you read up on narcissism, very much fits into a narcissistic definition.
If you're dealing with a true narcissist or are being driven nuts by how many seem to be around you the more you pay attention, I recommend The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout. There are also plenty of web articles out there, some better than others. This one isn't straight out of a professional psychology book, but it's interesting not unlike other articles on narcissism. I wouldn't put much weight on it, but the reason I'm sharing it is because I was struck by the Rager description which absolutely perfectly describes my husband's ex. It is exact, to the T. And people ask me why she is the way she is....
"The Rager is a common and somewhat obvious narcissistic type of personality. A barely controlled rage simmers below the surface and often lashes out at anyone nearby. Unhappiness is expressed with increasing hostility. There are episodes of explosive rage with irrational, mystifying or unexplainable causes. Violence may be a factor.
What is most characteristic is hypersensitivity to any perceived insult - whether intended or not. Everything is taken personally and usually interpreted as an attack. What sparks the rage is narcissistic injury. The world may be seen in black and white terms. Projecting blame is a knee jerk reaction. The subjective experience of rage may be accompanied by interpretations of malignant intent. Not surprisingly such reasoning may have a paranoid quality.
" For years Betty ruled her family with her unpredictable explosions of anger. Gradually she alienated everyone. After 16 years of marriage Eric left for a younger woman. It was his bid for a new life but he then instituted a custody fight for the three teenage children. Perhaps surprising to no one but Betty - the children expressed a unanimous desire to live with their father.
"Anger feels like anger - naturally. But it is important to focus on the underlying, perhaps more uncomfortable, emotions. This may include sadness, fear, shame or despair. What is absent is a capacity to modulate intense emotions including, but not limited to anger... The Rager can be intensely controlling and it is almost the norm that the relationship will be abusive."From: Narcissism: A Nine Headed Hydra?